This is the touching story of young Batya and Tom, both of whom have had to face personal trauma and loss. Batya's mother died and her father has remarried. The inconsolable girl withdraws into herself, but is taken under the wing of a loving uncle. He places her in a boarding school near his kibbutz, near the pastoral Hula Lake in the Galilee. Tom, afflicted with asthma, lives on an isolated farm with his mother, who is said to be a witch and to harbor criminals. The backdrop is the State of Israel in the early years.
But Batya is not happy at the new school and tends to go for lonely walks near the lake, where she encounters Tom. A close relationship slowly evolves between Batya, Tom and his mother, though there is a sense of mystery about the latter. Eventually Batya discovers that the "criminal" harbored by Tom's mother is actually the boy's father, a Holocaust survivor irretrievably scarred by his experiences. The man's only occupation is to carve wooden birds. In the end, mutual support leads to loneliness and sadness being replaced by caring, friendship and even love. Despite the aura of poignant sadness so sensitively portrayed, hope ultimately prevails.
Illustrations: Hilla Havkin
Excerpt in English translation available (for publishers only)